A panel discussion on Sabre Rattling in Ladakh was held on the first day of the 4th Military Literature Festival (MLF-2020) organised virtually in the wake of COVID-19.The panel discussion was moderated by Lieutenant General DS Hooda while Lieutenant General HS Panag, Lieutenant General Raj Shukla, AVM Manmohan Bahadur, Brigadier Naveen Mahajan, Brigadier Gaurav Mishra and Ram Madhav also participated and shared their views.Lieutenant General DS Hooda commencing the discussion talked about the past, present and future of the India-China standoff which has continued for eight month now. He said that a series of talks at political, diplomatic and military level was held but there seems to be very little progress happening in the ground.DS Hooda said that in this discussion they see what actions have been taken by both India and China so far, What are the intentions of China and Could we have responded better besides look at the lessons to learn from it.He said that the discussion will focus on the present situation to see if there is a way forward or are we gonna remain deadlocked like this? “Is this the situation we are continuing to see over the next months and years with thousands of soldiers standing on both sides or is there some potential for negotiations settlement,” he added.“Finally, we need to look at the future, we see China emerging as a major challenge for India. Therefore, what should be our diplomatic strategy, what should be our political strategy and what should be our military strategy?,” he said before passing discussion to Brigadier Gaurav Mishra for opening remarks.
Brigadier Gaurav Mishra set the stage for further discussions by sharing his comments about China’s dream behind the standoff. Lieutenant General HS Panag spoke about his assessment about the reasons why China undertook this operation in Eastern Ladakh and it’s possible aims in doing so. He made a point that it was merely a territorial issue but a larger issue of undermining India’s regional status and preventing its infrastructure building etc.Brigadier Naveen Mahajan highlighted the Pak-China collusivity. He said that China and Pakistan share a long standing friendship, which is going stronger over the years.AVM Manmohan Bahadur talked about the deadlock in the negotiations. He said that the Chinese have four-five concepts including active defence policy, positioning, making a noise i.e. sabre rattling, the name given to the panel discussion. He also questioned whether the deadlock is genuine or China is gaining time to build their air defence capabilities.Lieutenant General Raj Shukla said that China’s strategic military actions need a re-imagination of thoughts in our strategic outlook and national security mind-space, if we are to deal with the challenge with necessary purpose and precision.Ram Madhav while hailing India for responding to China with appropriate manners and engaging them properly at diplomatic level said that it will definitely yield good results and India should keep its options open.Meanwhile, the panelists have also listened to the questions and issues raised by the viewers and answered them.